Personal profile

Personal profile

I am a principal clinical psychologist whose clinical specialism and main area of research interest is in the practice of clinical psychology with older people.  After qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 2006, I worked in a variety of different NHS clinical settings with older people in London and Buckinghamshire, including community mental health teams, inpatient services, intermediate care and memory services.  Since December 2022, I have brought this specialist clinical knowledge into my work as a lecturer/clinical tutor on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology training programme at Royal Holloway.  

I am the editor for the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology Faculty for the Psychology of Older People, and also a national committee member of the faculty.  

My research interests reflect my clinical specialism.  We have an aging population, and yet research with the older adult population remains less developed than in other areas. I am currently involved in conducting and supervising research projects with doctoral trainees, which are largely in the following interrelated areas:

Older adults with complex mental health needs

The clinical presentation of older people with emotional regulation difficulties, difficulties around impulse control and significant and long-standing interpersonal challenges can vary markedly from that of younger adults.  Diagnostic tools are mostly designed for working age presentations, resulting in older people’s needs being misdiagnosed or overlooked – and meaning that they are then often missed from the evidence base, NICE guidance and available clinical interventions.  I am interested in understanding more about the lived experience of these individuals, how their clinical presentation may vary from that of younger adults, and in identifying interventions that may be effective in this population.  

Older adults and neurodiversity

I am currently supervising a project looking at the lived experience of aging with neurodiversity.  The needs of older people with autism are not fully understood; for example, historical changes in diagnostic criteria may mean that older adults who meet modern criteria for autism do not have an official diagnosis. This may influence how behaviours and difficulties experienced by older adults on the autism spectrum are understood, including a potential risk of misdiagnosis and misunderstanding in the provision of support.

Older adults with eating disorders

Disordered eating frequently presents in older adult mental health services, but the mechanisms behind it are poorly understood and older adults are frequently excluded from specialised services.  This group is homogenous and there are a number of different possible factors which complicates the picture.  Older people with eating disorders tend to belong to one of three categories: those with a chronic disorder from a much younger age, those that were identified and treated and the disorder has recurred, and those that first develop the disorder in later life.  I am interested in research looking into the key factors in the development, maintenance and/or recurrence of an eating disorder in later life.  I am currently supervising a project exploring the lived experience of older people with disordered eating.     

Older adults and cognitive change

Dementia may be understood as a “fundamental threat to self” (Cheston et al., 2015).  With more people living longer, there is a national focus on people being able to access timely diagnosis, as well as on the development of interventions to live well with dementia.   I am interested in research that considers how people can best be supported to live well with dementia or mild cognitive impairment.  I am also interested in how people make sense of and understand cognitive changes, particularly executive functioning difficulties.  I am currently supervising a project looking at the role of metacognition and social stress in decision making for people with dementia. 

I have experience in both qualitative and quantitative research. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Clinical Neuropsychology, Postgraduate Diploma, University of Bristol

1 Sept 20204 Jul 2023

Award Date: 4 Jul 2023

Clinical and Community Psychology, DClinPsy, University of Exeter

20 Sept 200320 Sept 2006

Award Date: 20 Sept 2006

Social Research, MSc, University of Bath

20 Sept 200120 Sept 2003

Award Date: 20 Sept 2003

Psychology, BSc, University of Exeter

20 Sept 199820 Sept 2001

Award Date: 20 Sept 2001

External positions

Bulletin Editor, British Psychological Society, Division of Clinical Psychology, Faculty for the Psychology of Older People

1 Feb 2023 → …

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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